Talent selection and identification are critical for the development of future elite-level performers. Hiring companies are continually pursuing top talent: individuals with a set of attributes which predispose them for a successful career in the company.

As teams are the mainstay in the modern world of work, it only makes sense to group top talent into high-functioning – or Elite – teams. However, merely adding top performers into one pot won’t produce a symbiotic potion. The secret ingredient of a gelled unit is a robust selection process.

Meticulous selection is critical to a team’s success. Nevertheless, hiring talent remains top of mind among CEOs’ concerns. PWC’s 2019 Annual Global CEO Survey reports that Chief Executives view the unavailability of expertise and skills as one of the top threats to their business.

When it comes to assessing potential candidates to join a team, research shows that a large number of organisations employ rudimentary and haphazard approaches to selecting their team members.

These hit-or-miss methods represent a severe disconnect for teams that aim to have a strategic focus on increasing their competitive advantage through effective talent management.

The disconnect, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Foundation reports, “stems from the fact that many organisations fail to use scientifically proven assessments to make selection decisions.”

Research has shown that the impact of an unfit hire will not only be felt financially but also by the effects that it will have on the existing employees.

In a review conducted by Robert Half International, 39% of CFOs surveyed said that bad hires had cost them productivity; 11% said a bad hire resulted in fewer sales. Respondents reported that supervisors spend 17% of their time – about one day per week – managing poorly performing employees.

The survey was based on interviews with more than 2 000 CFOs.

While leadership is spending the bulk of their time and resources in trying to correct the mistake of hiring the wrong person, the rest of the team often becomes disgruntled or disengaged.

Effectively employing scientifically vetted assessment methods can significantly enhance the quality and productivity of work teams. But not all the considered tools are helpful in every situation.

Work samples and job knowledge, for example, can’t be used to select candidates at entry-level who still need to go through a learning curve. In these situations, intelligence tests, integrity tests, peer ratings and structured interviews represent the most reliable options.

In a more out-of-the-box approach to assessment methods, Google and Marriot have even turned to gamification. Applicants get to experience what the tasks would be like by playing a game version of it.  The objective is to offer the prospective team member a preview, making it clear what is challenging about the team’s goals as well as what is exciting.

A scientific approach to talent identification also involves various decision-makers in selecting potential talent. A multidisciplinary team brings complementary skill sets to the selection process.  Decision-makers can cross-check each other to ensure the selection process covers all basis. A diverse group of decision-makers is also an excellent countermeasure against bias or prejudice in the selection process.

An efficient recruitment process is an organisation-specific sourcing model that aims to find the right fit for the right position at the right time. It is a step-by-step approach to bringing in talented people who can help the company grow.

However, it is also essential to balance the prediction of future performance with current ability. If leadership only focuses on short-term wins, prospective team members’ currently ability might be their only concern. Successful talent identification sees into the future by identifying budding talent with high potential.   

Additionally, Harvard Business Review states that organisations that don’t check to see how well their practices predict the future quality of their hires lack in one of the most consequential aspects of modern business.

Tertiary degrees, certifications and years of work experience in no way indicate that an individual will be a high performer, McKinsey & Company proclaims.

Some research even suggests that Elite Teams most often comprise of members who have been selected for their can-do attitude and high potential, and not on skill (or, at least, not on skill alone). 

For example, New Zealand’s revered All Blacks rugby team select on character over talent. Some of New Zealand’s most promising players never pull on the coveted jersey because they don’t have the attitude that defines the team’s spirit.

Moreover, the All Blacks team selection process is rigorous and thorough. It’s not a secret. It’s part of the team’s Elite status. The All Blacks team still enjoys admiration around the world. Keeping this in mind, leaders should consider that being rigorous does not equate to being unapproachable or rude. 

In today’s competitive market for talent, a compelling employer brand is crucial to attracting the best candidates. LinkedIn research says that companies with great employer brands receive 50% more qualified applicants and see a 50% reduction in cost-per-hire.

With 75% of job seekers considering an employer’s brand before even applying, an attractive brand may be the difference between finding the perfect person for the role – or losing them to a competitor.




















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